May 28, 2009

Team Play Lifts Lakers in Game Five

With the 103-94 win over the Denver Nuggets, the Los Angeles Lakers reminded us that they can play five-on-five basketball.

In the previous four games, it was the Kobe Bryant Show instead of the Lake Show-- Bryant dominated the offense and the results have been two close wins and a blow-out loss in Game Four. But for the pivotal fifth game, Kobe became the decoy at offense and his team mates responded early on.

In the first quarter, Trevor Ariza, Andrew Bynum, and Derek Fisher made most of the Lakers' baskets. In the second, it was the inside attack of Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum that kept the Lakers afloat. During that time, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol were facilitating the offense, but Denver kept close. The scores after the first and second quarters were all tied.

After the halftime break, the Nuggets were the first ones to show signs of distancing themselves from the opponent: the led by seven points by the middle of the third. But that was the time the Lakers started a run that the Nuggets wouldn't recover from. Starting with Pau Gasol's dunk, the Lakers outscored the Nuggets 23-5 until the 7:52 mark in the fourth. The 7-point deficit became an 11-point lead thanks to that run. Reserve Shannon Brown made six baskets in that stretch, including a dunk over Chris "Birdman" Andersen and an improbable fade-away jumper as the shot clock expired.

Many experts will point to that run as a turning point for the game. The Lakers played great team defense and executed the offense sharply (the Lakers only made two turnovers and had eight assists in that 11 minute stretch). The Nuggets were able to cut it to four with three minutes left, but two consecutive three-point plays sealed the Nuggets' fate.

The Lakers pounded the ball inside, played excellent team offense, and held the Nuggets down when it mattered. Let's see if they can sustain the effort in Game Six and earn a ticket to the 2009 NBA Finals.


1 comment:

  1. It's scary how good the Lakers are when the role players, headed by Lamar Odom, are aggressive. I say this series is headed for seven



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